11 Dec 2017
11:13 am

Five armed guards of a drug trafficking caravan were shot dead and over a cache of over 1.9 million methamphetamine pills was seized in fierce clash with soldiers in Mae Fa Luang district of Chiang Rai province yesterday (Dec 10).

Thai authorities said the clash happened at a jungle area about 700 metres away from the Thai-Myanmar borderline at Ban Chalor village in Tambon Mae Fa Luang.

As Thai soldiers attached to the Pa Muang field force under the Third Army Command was making a routine patrol at the border, an armed drug caravan was sighted crossing the border into the Thai border village.

Signals were given to the drug caravan to stop for search. But the armed guard protecting the caravan opened fire at the soldiers.

A fierce exchange of fires then broke out and ended shortly afterrwards with all the men escaping across the border leaving five of their dead colleagues.

Inspection of the area led by the deputy commander of the Third Army Maj Gen Chalermchai Chaiyakham found five dead bodies of the armed guards and 19 shoulder bags which contained the drugs.

Over 1.9 million pills were counted.

Authorities have not established the nationality of the armed men if they belonged to which Myanmar minority group.

Latest report today said two injured men were arrested and they were hill tribe residents at Tambon Terdthai in Mae Fa Luang. They were sent to district hospital for treatment.

Authorities were questioning them to find where the drugs were originated from.

10 Dec 2017
11:29 pm

Forest officials in Songkhla province have been accused by police of misappropriating 65 million baht worth of fragrant Agarwood which was seized by forest officials but later ordered to be returned to their owner by the court.

Pol Col Somboon Thongsomboon, superintendent of Kuan Meet police in Songkhla, said he had filed a complaint, accusing a group of forest officials of the Forest Resources Management Office of malfeasance in office for having misappropriated 13 kilogrammes of fragrant Agarwood worth about 65 million baht which was impounded and kept under their care.

The Agarwood was seized by Kuan Meet police in Chana district of Songkhla on March 27, 2016 and then held in the care of forest officials which the case was pending in the court.

Later on, the court ordered the fragrant wood to be returned to its owner, Mr Hamran Halabee, who however complained that the wood which was returned to him by the forest officials was not Agarwood.

Pol Col Somboon said that police inquiry officers would question officials of the Forest Resources Management Office on Tuesday after which a report of their findings would be sent to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Government Sector Anti-Corruption Committee for consideration.

10 Dec 2017
11:10 pm

The freshman cadet of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School Mr Pakapong Tanyakan was cremated at Wat Wiwaekaram in Si Racha district of Chon Buri in a simple ceremony attended by family members, relatives and close friends.

The religious ceremony was presided over by Mr Pee Malakul na Ayudhya and his wife, Thanpuying Ariya Malakul na Ayudhya.

The Tanyakarn family has just received an autopsy report from the Central Forensic Science Institute of the Justice Ministry about the cause of the cadet’s death and the return of his vital organs from the hospital.


The family has not publicly disclosed the result of the autopsy report.

The cadet’s father, Mr Pichet told the media after the cremation ceremony that his family would take a rest for a while because they were tired. He said the family would on Monday collect their son’s ashes from the temple to be released into the sea at Sattahip.

Mr Pichet also thanked the media and members of the public for showing them moral support and interest in their son’s suspicious death.

 

10 Dec 2017
9:21 pm

Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd on Sunday (Dec 10) categorically denied as completely groundless a report widely shared in the social media that the government is to impose a 7 percent tax on public donations given to rocker-runner Toon Bodyslam for 11 hospitals nationwide.

He said that the report was false and he questioned the real motive of the forger whom he accused of harboring ill intent against the government. He maintained that the government has never conceived such an idea to tax the donations received by Toon, but has been supporting his action all along.

Lt-Gen Sansern also dismissed another false report, claiming that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha donated only 20 baht to Toon’s charity run. He, however, declined to disclose the actual amount of donation made by the prime minister, noting that it was a personal matter and the prime minister didn’t want it to become an issue for criticism.

He warned the persons who fabricated the false reports and those who shared them in the social media that they might face legal action under the computer crime law.

Officials concerned, he added, are investigating to identify the forgers of the false reports.

 

10 Dec 2017
3:35 pm

Rocker-runner Toon Bodyslam on Saturday (Dec 9) offered his heart-felt thanks to the Thai people for helping him achieve his goal of mobilizing 700 million baht in public donations for 11 hospitals nationwide.

Mr Artivara Kongmalai, alias as Toon Bodyslam, was informed that his 700-million baht target had been attained at about 5 pm on Saturday before he and his team resumed the last leg of 13.4 kilometre run on the Chainat-Manorom highway in Muang district of Chainat.


The runner told his fans that he didn’t expect to achieve his goal so fast and so early. “This shows the power of bits of money which are deemed insignificant but when being put together will turn huge. If we believe in the same thing that bits of money that we have collected en route to our destination can help save lives,” he said.


Despite the donations which amounted to 715 million baht as of 1.31 pm on Sunday (Dec 10), Toon has vowed to continue the run till the destination in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.

The runner and his team took a day break on Sunday before resuming the run on Monday morning toward Payuha Khiri district of Nakhon Sawan province.

 

10 Dec 2017
3:07 pm

The Government Lottery Office will issue lottery in a set of five tickets at a price of 400 baht per set to buyers who dream of hitting a jackpot of 30 million baht in the middle of this year.

GLO spokesman Assistant Professor Thanawat Pholvichai said Sunday that the issuance of set lottery tickets which was already approved by the lottery board was meant to solve the problem of set tickets being arranged by lottery sellers for sale to customers at overcharged prices.

He said that the five-ticket set lottery tickets would give an alternative to buyers who want to win hefty prizes in a way that they will not be taken advantage by vendors.

Thanawat disclosed that half of the lottery tickets issued for each draw would be made in sets of five tickets each to ensure fairness to both the buyers and the sellers.

While admitting that overpricing of lottery tickets sold in sets still remains, he said the price charged has substantially been reduced to 100-120 baht per ticket instead of 150 baht as it used to be.

 

9 Dec 2017
10:27 pm

More processed wood have been uncovered on the compound of Wat Mettathampothiyarn in Kanchanaburi province as officials continued their search of the temple for the second day on Saturday.

Over 50 park officials, police and military personnel searched an unlit building on the temple ground and found thousands of wood planks hidden in dark corners of the building.

A container was found in front of the building, but it could not be opened because it was blocked by a huge log. A peep through a gap in the door revealed processed wood hidden inside so officials sealed the container with adhesive tape to prevent unauthorized people from opening it.

Questions have been raised about how the temple could store a huge amount of processed wood and how a saw mill could operate on the compound without being detected by officials concerned.

It was suspected that some provincial officials might have been involved in the illegal activities inside the temple.

9 Dec 2017
9:28 pm

Former prime minister and chief advisor of the Democrat Party Chuan Leekpai has urged the government to come up with a special measure or policy to address the problem of household income of the southerners.

In an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and received by Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Kruea-ngarm, Mr Chuan said that although the average household income nationwide was increased from 25,194 baht to 26,915 baht in 2015, according to the National Statistics Office, the actual average household income in southern provinces has decreased.

He noted that in Ranong, household income dropped from 32,292 baht in 2013 to 22,035 baht in 2015; from 33,270 baht to 23,309 baht in Trang; and from 22,483 baht to 15,584 baht in Yala province.

For Ranong and Trang provinces, Chuan said that the household income had dropped by one-thirds of what the local families used to receive.

The former prime minister suggested that the government would come up with special measure or policy that suit with the local conditions or environments to address the problem of declining household income.

9 Dec 2017
9:10 pm

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha led representatives of the government and private sectors, anti-corruption network and civil society in the declaration of intention to resist and reject corruption on the occasion of the International Anti- Corruption Day on Saturday.

He pointed out that corruption problem has been prevalent in the Thai society for time immemorable that corruption has become an acceptable culture such as bribery, the sale of official positions and the public are unable to distinguish public interest from private interest.

To address the problem effectively, he said that all stakeholders in the society must join force to keep watch and to mete out measures to prevent corruption and to impose penalties on those who corrupt.

Representative of the United Nations Jeremy Douglas who joined the event pledged support for the efforts to address corruption in Thailand. Citing the assessment of a network responsible for data regarding honest business practice in Asean, he said that Thailand had made progress in addressing corruption with its private sector showing determination to resist corruption and with the
updating of anti-graft law.

Thailand scored 35 out of 100 marks in the Corruption Perception Index this year which was lower than last year’s because democracy was included in the assessment, but it was expected that Thailand would make progress next year with the government determined to score up to 50 marks in the next four years.

Regarding the diamond ring and the expensive wristwatch of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan which have raised public suspicion about how the general has acquired them, Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnratchakit, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, said that the NACC acting secretary- general was now in the process of informing the deputy prime minister in writing
to make an explanation which can be done in writing or verbally.

 

9 Dec 2017
9:09 pm

Rice, rubber, palm oil, and livestock farmers will expect better livelihood next year as the government says it will be launching a plan that will provide comprehensive solution to problems afflicting the farming sector as New Year’s gifts to farmers.

This was disclosed yesterday by deputy prime minister Somkid Jatusripitak after a meeting with economic team comprising ministers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Interior and the head of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives

The plan provides farmers with greater access to marketing, production (growing) and distribution information relevant to the country’s main economic crops such as rice, rubber, palm and livestock.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid said that the meeting agreed to set up a “war room” team made up of specialists in each area to come up with a comprehensive solution for the country’s farming sector.

They include production, marketing, community tourism as well as agricultural credit.

The main purpose is to provide farmers with direct access to vital information critical for their livelihood such as market demand and market prices so that they are able to make the necessary change in their yearly planting plans in accordance with market forces.

The plan will be sent to the cabinet for approval once everything has been worked out, he said.

Expectation was that it will be implementedcwithin the next three months.

But he said the rubber farmers will expect priority as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has been ordered to implement measures to raise rubber prices to exceed existing production overheads as quickly as possible.

The ministry has begun buying up rubber at recently adjusted prices from the previous 42 -43 baht per kilogram to 47 – 48 baht.

Other government departments have also been encouraged to make rubber procurements of their own which will in total help to absorb more than 100,000 tons which is hoped to drive market prices up to exceed the current 51.28 baht

Meanwhile the Ministry of Energy is also trying to reduce the huge raw palm oil stockpile which currently at the highest recorded level of 540,000 tons by converting them to bio diesel.

The record stockpile was attributed mainly to an increase in local production from 2 million tons to 2.4 million tons a year.

The bio-diesel produced will be used for electricity generation to offset current electricity production costs which are very high.